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REDD in the news: 20-26 November 2017

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REDD-Monitor’s round-up of the week’s news on forests, climate change, and REDD. For regular updates, follow @reddmonitor on Twitter.

20 November 2017

The Climate Crisis? It’s Capitalism, Stupid
By Benjamin Y. Fong, New York Times, 20 November 2017
Even casual readers of the news know that the earth is probably going to look very different in 2100, and not in a good way.
A recent Times opinion piece included this quotation from the paleoclimatologist Lee Kump: “The rate at which we’re injecting CO2 into the atmosphere today, according to our best estimates, is 10 times faster than it was during the End-Permian.”

UN Climate Summit Fails to Include Human Rights Protection for Land Defenders, Including Berta Cáceres
Grassroots Global Justice Alliance press release, 20 November 2017
Over a year after the assassination of the Honduran environment defender Berta Cáceres, the Justice for Berta Campaign took the UN climate summit in Bonn, Germany by storm. Berta Cáceres, one of the most internationally-recognized environmentalists, was gunned down in her home for defending the land, water and human rights of the Lenca People and has since become the epitome of the violence such activists suffer.
At the UN climate summit, also known as COP23, the Justice for Berta Campaign and the It Takes Roots delegation officially delivered the report entitled “Dam Violence: The Plan That Killed Berta Cáceres” to the Honduran government, which has yet to meet with the family and organization of the murdered leader since the report’s release.

Pioneering climate fund for developing world gets a boost at U.N. talks
By Megan Rowling, Thomson Reuters Foundation, 20 November 2017
From protecting coastal slum dwellers on Pacific islands against floods to helping poor farmers keep up harvests battered by drought in Africa, a global fund to help developing countries adapt to climate change received a vote of confidence at the latest round of U.N. climate talks.
At the end of the two-week meeting in Bonn, which ran over into Saturday morning, governments agreed the Adaptation Fund will become one of the formal tools to meet the goals of the Paris climate accord – a decision needed to ensure the fund’s continuing existence.

COP23 Special: Recognizing gender bias, restoring forests
By Deanna Ramsay, CIFOR Forests News, 20 November 2017
One woman described the centuries-old, female-centered production of argan oil in Morocco and the recent degradation of the country’s forests. Another spoke of the gender disparities in experiences at REDD+ sites. And yet another talked of women in eastern India who cultivate up to 60 different crops in one shifting cultivation cycle, working from a base of rich traditional wisdom.
At the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) session “Gender equality, rights and ancestral knowledge in the context of forest landscape restoration” on the sidelines of COP23, a diverse set of panelists stood at a frontier – bringing gender equality and women’s rights to the forest landscape restoration (FLR) conversation.

Is REDD+ mechanism enough to fight climate change?
By Junaid Zahid, The Express Tribune, 20 November 2017
REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forest and enhancement of forest carbon stock in developing countries) is considered as an emerging global climate policy instrument for the conservation and sustainability of landscapes. Forests are the world’s largest carbon sinks.
REDD+ attempts to create a sphere in which carbon emissions are reduced and folks can more easily adapt to climate change.
Environmentalists have spent decades working to protect tropical forests, both to promote biodiversity and to conserve nature’s bounty. All too often those efforts have fallen short in the face of economic forces that put a higher price on timber and cleared land than on the forests themselves. But that may soon change if international climate negotiators can include forest carbon in a treaty to control global warming.

Combating fraud in climate finance
By Bob Berwyn, Pacific Standard, 20 November 2017
The necessity of cutting greenhouse gas emissions is at the heart of the Paris climate agreement, and, without that, nothing else may matter, scientists tell us, warning of spiraling climate catastrophes like droughts, killer heat waves, and megastorms that could wreck even advanced societies.
But as the world struggles to avoid going over the brink, it must also pay attention to climate justice and climate finance, secondary pillars of the agreement, and of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, ever since the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, which codifies the idea that developed countries historically responsible for most of the globe’s heat-trapping pollution will pay to help developing countries deal with adaptation and equitable mitigation.

Total Pledges to Offset Carbon Emissions From All Company Plane Travel Through the Adilabad Biogas Project With the GoodPlanet Foundation
GoodPlanet Foundation press release, 20 November 2017
Yann Arthus-Bertrand, President of the GoodPlanet Foundation, and Patrick Pouyanné, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Total, today signed an agreement for a project to deploy 8,400 biodigesters in Telangana State, India, to improve the lives of 45,000 people and contribute tackling climate change. This voluntary carbon neutrality initiative, eligible for certified carbon credits, will avoid the emission of 50,000 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent a year for a period of 10 years. That is equivalent to all emissions generated by plane travel by Total employees.

Agribusiness responsible for bulk of offshore companies set up by Bolivian firms, Panama Papers investigation finds
Illegal Deforestation Monitor, 20 November 2017
A new Panama Papers investigation has revealed that the Bolivian agribusiness sector, long plagued by illegalities, has made extensive use of offshore accounts to avoid paying taxes.
Twenty Bolivian agribusinesses set up offshore companies between 1994 and 2015, outstripping any other sector of the country’s economy.
Analysis by IDM shows that the use of offshore companies was accompanied by a dramatic rise in illegal deforestation in the department of Santa Cruz, where all twenty of the firms were based. The use of secrecy jurisdictions, while not in itself illegal, may have exacerbated the expansion of illegal agriculture by reducing tax burdens and increasing the profitability of the sector.

Is Germany losing its role model status on climate?
By Patrick Große, DW, 20 November 2017
Until recently, Angela Merkel was known as the “climate chancellor” and Germany had a squeaky-green image. But now it looks like the country will miss the goals it pledged in Paris. Could a future government change that?
These are difficult days in Berlin, as coalition talks among Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU), the allied Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU), the economically liberal Free Democrats (FDP) and the Greens have failed. On Sunday, the FDP walked out of negotiations. (It’s called a Jamaica coalition government because the most prominents parties’ colors are black, yellow and green, respectively.)

Ghana: Amenfi West Inaugurates Achichire, Sureso, Pebaseman Crema Executive Committee
Government of Ghana press release, 20 November 2017
The Executive Committee of the Community Resource Management Area (CREMA) which aims at protecting natural resources such as water bodies, forests and their species, including animals, have been trained and inaugurated at Asankragwa, the Amenfi West District capital of the Western Region.
CREMA covers or encompasses about 28 communities in the Amenfi West and Central Districts that host rich and diverse biodiversity that form the basis of the socio-cultural and economic prospects of the local communities.

[UK] £100m Carbon Credit Scammers Jailed
By Lisa Smith, iExpats, 20 November 2017
A fake green investment gang who duped nearly 800 celebrities and wealthy investors into handing over more than £100 million has been jailed.
The six-strong gang promised their victims tax breaks and better than average returns for their money.
But the truth was they spent the cash on a lavish lifestyle of expensive homes, super cars and luxury holidays.
Tax inspectors spent 10 years unravelling the gang’s deceit set up around a web of offshore companies and bank accounts designed to confuse and obstruct anyone looking at the scam.

21 November 2017

COP23 cop out: The EU leaders forgo the chance to take meaningful climate action
By Diane James, City A.M., 21 November 2017
Last week, a conference known as the Conference of the Parties 23 (COP23) drew to a close in Bonn, Germany.
COP23 was the latest UN conference debating how best to deal with the challenges posed by climate change, bringing together thousands of delegates from all around the world.
So was this colossal meeting of minds a success from the EU point of view? In a word, no.

The devil’s in the COP 23 detail
By Mitchell Beer, Climate News Network, 21 November 2017
A key takeaway from this year’s United Nations climate change conference (COP 23) is that, when it comes to putting a practical foundation under the high-minded pronouncements in the Paris Agreement, the COP 23 detail matters more than the headlines.
That means the Paris process has entered a potentially perilous moment when the urgency of the climate crisis is mounting by the day, public expectations are (quite rightly) high, the commitment to action extends far beyond national governments – yet negotiators have to focus on nuts-and-bolts issues that are numbingly technical for the large majority of us, but will still determine the success or failure of a crucially important global deal.

How to save the rainforest: Build a health center
By Yao-Hua Law, CNN, 21 November 2017
The roosters were still asleep when Sri Wayunisih woke her daughter, Puteri. They could not afford to sleep till dawn.
Wayunisih had taken a day off from working on the oil palm estates and Puteri had skipped school for this trip. The two of them were heading towards Sukadana, a coastal district in south-west Borneo and the capital city of North Kayong, home to the only clinic in the area, some 80 kilometers away.
An hour and a few wrong turns later, Wayunisih and Puteri reached the clinic. It was just past 5 a.m. By 8 a.m, a small crowd of 15 adults and children were sat on the clinic verandah.

Forest Initiatives Announced in Bonn Target Sustainable Management, Emissions Reductions
By Elsa Tsioumani, IISD, 21 November 2017
Among other forest-related announcements at the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany, stakeholders launched the Global Platform for the New York Declaration on Forests, and national REDD+ strategies for Ghana, Nigeria and Uganda. The Conference’s ‘Forests Day,’ held on 12 November, featured, announcements from the governments of Ecuador and Gabon and the companies of Walmart and Mars Inc. on efforts to cut emissions from forest use and pursue sustainable forest management.

[Ghana] Prof Frimpong-Boateng urges countries to protect their forests at COP23
Business Ghana, 21 November 2017
Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, has said the importance of the forest to humanity should not be underestimated but rather be cherished and preserved for the sustenance of humanity.
“The forests are oxygen generating machines, producing the oxygen that we breath in, the forests are also our pharmacy and we get a lot of our drugs from them, the forests are also our super markets so we need to preserve them,” Prof Frimpong-Boateng said during a side-event organised alongside the just ended UN Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP23) held in Bonn, Germany.

Chocolate makers agree to stop cutting down forests in West Africa for cocoa
By Mike Gaworecki, Mongabay, 21 November 2017
At COP23, the UN climate talks in Bonn, Germany that wrapped up last week, top cocoa-producing countries in West Africa announced new commitments to end the massive deforestation for cocoa that is occurring within their borders.
Ivory Coast and Ghana are the number one and number two cocoa-producing nations on Earth, respectively. Together, they produce about two-thirds of the world’s cocoa, but that production has been tied to high rates of deforestation as well as child labor and other human rights abuses.

22 November 2017

A reflection on COP23: Incremental progress but no industrialized country’s top priority (commentary)
By Justin Catanoso, Mongabay, 22 November 2017
I remember well the vibrancy that December evening in 2015 when word spread on the last day of the 21st UN climate summit that there would be an agreement — the Paris Agreement.
After two decades of staring at a known and worsening global crisis of epic proportions, leaders of 196 nations, pushed mercilessly by UN, French, and US negotiators, finally decided to not allow the earth to burn up by 2100. The Eiffel Tower glowed with triumphant messages against a starry Paris sky.

Radical views of how to care for the land, and let it care for us, break through at COP
By Natalie Bennett (Green Party), The Ecologist, 22 November 2017
Promotion of agroecology and organic agriculture, and questioning of grain-fed animal agriculture, are taking an increasingly large place at international climate discussions.
Forestry has always had a prominent position, but the discussion of how to protect these precious resources is moving in the same positive direction as the farming and food discussion, driven by the failures of “business-as-usual” approaches such as REDD+.
In Bonn, there was a high-level panel discussion (this is terminology that does mean something in the status-conscious world of COP) of agroecology, an approach that aims to work with nature, rather than flattening it.

Livestock manure, coffee grounds recruited by big oil to combat climate change
By Maurice Smith, JWN Energy, 22 November 2017
In a couple of small-scale but innovative ventures, oil giants Total and Royal Dutch Shell launched projects this week to cut greenhouse gas emissions using creatively produced biofuels.
Total has pledged to offset carbon emissions from all company plane travel through a biogas project using livestock manure, while Shell said it will help to power some of London’s iconic double-decker buses using a biofuel made partly from waste coffee grounds.

New protected area in Congo basin is bigger than Switzerland
WWF, 22 November 2017
The creation today of one of the world’s largest wetland protected areas (WPA) in the Democratic Republic of Congo will help to conserve a critically important part of the Congo basin, providing greater protection for its rich biodiversity and securing vital water supplies for many communities.
Measuring almost 4.5 million hectares – an area larger than Switzerland – the Lufira Basin in southerastern DRC has been designated a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar convention. Covering a network of rivers, lakes, floodplains and swamp forests as well as four national protected areas, the massive new WPA is home to a wealth of wildlife, including many endemic fish, bird and reptile species and the rare Upemba lechwe.

RSPO member ANJ accused of human rights abuses in West Papua
Forest Peoples Programme, 22 November 2017
Indonesian NGOs just issued a press release alleging that RSPO member ANJ has been using the mobile police brigade to violently repress indigenous Iwaro people, who have been objecting to the way their lands have been taken over for a plantation. ANJ has extensive oil palm developments in Papua and West Papua. The complaint concerns one ANJ subsidiary, PT Permata Putera Mandiri (PPM), which is alleged to have seized the Iwaro people’s land without their consent.
According to the Indonesian NGOs, PPM has on several occasions used force to suppress the Iwaro indigenous people who are seeking to defend their rights. Alleged abuses include intimidation, violence, criminalization, imprisonment. The people have objected to the lack of respect for their land rights and procedural rights, like ‘Free, Prior and Informed Consent’, which the RSPO standard is meant to uphold.

CORSIA Offers Opportunities for REDD+ Programs in Indonesia and Ethiopia
By Anthony Mansell, Climate Advisers, 22 November 2017
The Carbon Offsetting Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) is a mechanism for airlines to achieve international aviation’s target of carbon neutral growth post-2020 by purchasing emission reductions achieved outside the sector. This is an opportunity for countries to finance programs that reduce emissions from airlines investing in those reductions.
Throughout 2017 Climate Advisers has compiled a series of case studies across different forest nations to make available Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) programs to CORSIA. Previously, we examined Peru and Colombia. Today, we release two new case studies focused on Indonesia and Ethiopia.

Laos Removes Governor of Attapeu Province Amid Logging Scandal
Radio Free Asia, 22 November 2017
The Communist Party of Laos has removed the governor of Attapeu province for his involvement in an illegal logging incident, among other examples of mismanagement, according to official sources.
The Politburo issued an order earlier this month reassigning Nam Viyaketh to work with the country’s National Social and Scientific Council. He was replaced by Attapeu deputy governor Leth Xaiyaphone in a Nov. 21 handover ceremony at the provincial government headquarters.
Speaking at the ceremony, Lao Vice President Phankham Viphavanh declared that the “reshuffle of high-ranking leaders is being done in accordance with job requirements for the new era.”

[UK] Clean Growth Strategy ‘flexibilities’ could put Paris goals at risk
By Matt Mace, edie.net, 22 November 2017
The aspirations of the Clean Growth Strategy have been praised as a “step in the right direction” by green economy experts, but concerns have been raised that the Government’s willingness to rely on banking and borrowing from carbon budgets could put the goals of the Paris Agreement at risk.
While most eyes in the House of Commons were focused on Chancellor Philip Hammond and his Autumn Budget briefcase, the BEIS Committee called an oral evidence session to examine the Government’s Clean Growth Strategy.
The long-delayed strategy outlines how the Government intends to meet the fifth carbon budget, which seeks to limit the UK’s annual emissions to 57% below 1990 levels by the year 2032 – and subsequently covers the fourth carbon budget, spanning 2023-2027.

23 November 2017

COP23: global carbon markets are critical
By Paul Orton, Bluenotes, 23 November 2017
The Paris Agreement, the central tenet of the world’s bid to halt catastrophic climate change, the document nearly every global economy (with the notable exception of Donald Trump’s US) has committed to implement, the template for a market-based, coordinated effort, is only 16 pages long.
It’s shorter than some product disclosure statements I come across at ANZ for seemingly straightforward financial solutions.
“Existing NDCs to reduce carbon emissions are not sufficient to keep global warming below 2 degrees.”
Yet, leaving Trump aside, while it is agreed it must work, there is no agreement on how to implement it – or whether it will work.

EARTH Token Set to Disrupt Multi-Trillion Dollar Industry: ICO Presale Bonus Period Has Commenced
EARTH token press release, 23 November 2017
The EARTH Token and the blockchain based Natural Asset Exchange (NAE) are set to disrupt the multi-trillion dollar trade in natural assets and carbon mitigation products. The project is being launched by impactChoice, a company that has been providing the industry with digital carbon mitigation solutions since 2009.
The EARTH Token will be the native token on the NAE and will be used to tokenize the value of natural assets supplied to the exchange and to make them available for carbon mitigation and environmental sustainability trading.

Kill Not the Goose that Lays the Golden Egg: Striving for Land Degradation Neutrality
By Graciela Metternicht and Annette Cowie, IISD, 23 November 2017
Soil health and productivity is declining worldwide at unprecedented rates. We are killing the goose that lays the golden egg; nearly 33% of the world’s arable land – our food basket – has been lost to erosion or pollution in the last 40 years. Soil is a basic resource underpinning food production and functioning of all terrestrial ecosystems. Managed carefully, soils are a reusable resource, but in a scale of human lifetimes they cannot be considered as a renewable resource. Soil formation rates are estimated at 114 millimetres per 1000 years on average globally, though in places like New South Wales (Australia) it can be as low as 10 millimetres per 1000 years.

[Brazil] Global firms accused of importing timber linked to Amazon massacre
By Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, 23 November 2017
More than a dozen US and European companies have been importing timber from a Brazilian logging firm whose owner is implicated in one of the most brutal Amazonian massacres in recent memory, according to a Greenpeace Brazil investigation.
The first-world buyers allegedly continued trading with Madeireira Cedroarana after police accused its founder, Valdelir João de Souza, of ordering the torture and murder of nine people in Colniza, Mato Grosso, on 19 April, claims the report by the NGO.
The state attorney alleges de Souza organised the assassinations to gain access to the forest where the victims – all smallholders – lived. Since the indictment on 15 May, the suspect has been on the run.

[Fiji] Deforestation concerns
By Luke Rawalai, Fiji Times, 23 November 2017
Of the 1568.720 hectares of forest cover removed in the North from August 2016 to July this year, Macuata recorded the largest forest cover removal with very little effort to reforest these areas.
A report from the Department of Forests revealed that of the 760.486 hectares of forest cover removed, only 39.98 hectares had been replaced in Macuata so far.
The report also revealed that 60.43 hectares of forest cover was replanted within Cakaudrove province to replace 203.13 hectares of cover that was removed within the same period.
“A total of 43.14 hectares of forest cover has been replanted in Bua to replace the 605.103 hectares of forests that were removed through logging practices in the same period,” the report revealed.

Ghanaians advised to give hope to future generations
News Ghana, 23 November 2017
The District Chief Executive for Amenfi West, Mr. George Agyiri has stressed the need to protect the natural environment and its resources to give hope to future generations.
He said resources such as water bodies and forests were the mainstay of humankind and must be protected, preserved and reclaim lands destroyed by illegal mining activities.
Mr. Agyiri was speaking at the inauguration of the Community Resource Management Area (CREMA) Executive Committee.

[Ghana] CREMA Executive Committees Inaugurated At Amenfi West
Modern Ghana, 23 November 2017
The District Chief Executive for Amenfi West, Mr. George Agyiri has stressed the need to protect the natural environment and its resources to give hope to future generations.
He said resources such as water bodies and forests were the mainstay of humankind and must be protected, preserved and reclaim lands destroyed by illegal mining activities.
Mr. Agyiri was speaking at the inauguration of the Community Resource Management Area (CREMA) Executive Committee.

[Indonesia] Gov’t Must Reform Forest Laws: NGOs
By Dames Alexander Sinaga, Jakarta Globe, 23 November 2017
A number of non-governmental organizations that have grouped together under the Coalition for Forest Policy Change, or KPKK, on Tuesday (21/11) urged Indonesian legislators to reform the country’s 1999 Forest Laws.
According to the coalition, the process in which the law was drafted during the country’s transition period in the late 1990s was far from the principles of transparency.
“It [the law] has not protected forest cover, [and only] sees our forests as a commodity,” Grahat Nagara, the secretary general of Auriga, an environmental think-tank which is part of the coalition, said in Jakarta.
Grahat said forests should not be seen as just sites for production, protection and conservation, but also respected for its socio-cultural functions.

Malaysia thanks Indonesia for tackling forest fires
By Safrin La Batu, Jakarta Post, 23 November 2017
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has expressed his appreciation for Indonesia’s efforts in tackling forest fires on Sumatra and Kalimantan and spare the neighboring country from air pollution.
Speaking during a joint press conference with President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo before the 12th Malaysia-Indonesia annual consultative meeting in Kuching , Malaysia, Najib said his country had not experienced haze for two years.
“Thank you for the serious attention from Indonesia. The weather is now fresh, enjoyable,” Najib said as quoted in the Presidential Palace’s press statement on Wednesday.

24 November 2017

After COP23, time to join the dots
By Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, WWF, 24 November 2017
Momentum is a precious commodity in the climate talks. With the complexity of the negotiations, the enormous inertia working against progress, and the urgency of the need to reduce emissions, maintaining forward motion is vital.
COP23, which concluded on Saturday, maintained that momentum. Credit goes to the Fijian presidency, for its focus on implementation and enhancing ambition, and for a list of concrete outcomes that lays solid foundations for next year’s COP, in Katowice, Poland.

Certification Schemes Failing to Protect Tropical Forests
By Michael Guindon, Global Canopy Programme, 24 November 2017
Timber certification schemes and corporate sustainability commitments are failing to protect tropical forests, according to new analysis from Global Canopy.
The research, based on Forest 500 data that ranks the most influential producers, processors, manufacturers and retailers involved in deforestation-risk commodities, found that 80% of companies with timber and / or pulp and paper sustainability policies use Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) certification to meet sustainability commitments.

Brian McFarland publishes rainforest conservation tome
By Linda Kelly, Carbonfund.org, 24 November 2017
After more than two years, 60+ interviews and 24 case studies across 15 countries and four continents, the book “Conservation of Tropical Rainforests: A Review of Financial and Strategic Solutions” has finally been published by Springer / Palgrave Macmillan, as part of the Palgrave Studies in Environmental Policy and Regulation series.
The book, totaling nearly 750 pages, was written by our very own Brian McFarland. Brian is the Project Director at Carbonfund.org and he recently celebrated 10 years at Carbonfund.org.

Making carbon count: how pricing in externalities could drive the circular economy
By David Newman (World Biogas Assoication), Business Green, 24 November 2017
One of the many takeaway themes from this year’s UN COP23 Climate Summit in Bonn has been the interest around putting a price on carbon and how this can be instrumental in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Europe and beyond.
But what are the effects of carbon pricing in practice? Put simply, by having to factor in a price for the negative externalities of greenhouse-gas emissions caused by a certain production process or use of fossil fuels, the emitter is subject to higher costs and will consequently work to reduce the emissions. Energy-intensive industries such as aluminium, steel, cement, oil refineries, paper, chemicals, glass, and ceramics are currently subject to such a trading system in the EU.

More harm than good with climate geo-engineering
By Tim Radford, Climate News Network, 24 November 2017
Geo-engineering – the untested technofix that would permit the continued use of fossil fuels – could create more problems than it could solve.
By masking sunlight with injections of sulphate aerosols in the stratosphere, nations could perhaps suppress some of the devastating hurricanes and typhoons that in a rapidly warming world threaten northern hemisphere cities. But they could also scorch the Sahel region of Africa, to threaten millions of lives and livelihoods, according to new research.

Amazon tribe saves plant lore with ‘healing forests’ and encyclopedia
By David Hill, The Guardian, 24 November 2017
The seven indigenous Matsés elders were slowly meandering through the forest. They were explaining how different trees and plants are used for medicinal purposes, exchanging stories about how they had acquired their extraordinary knowledge and put it to good use. There were memories of an encounter with a jaguar and someone’s father struck by some kind of pain in the eye – “not conjunctivitis!” – while claims were made for successfully treating women haemorrhaging, snake-bite, a swollen leg and constipation.
The forest we were in was actually more of a garden – or “healing forest” or “medicinal agroforestry” plot – planted late last year by six young Matsés men under the expert guidance of elder Arturo Tumi Nëcca Potsad. “There are all types [of trees and plants] here,” Arturo told the Guardian, holding a spear made of peach palm and looking about him. “About 100 types, 3,000 plants.”

[Fiji] Forest fire concern
By Kalesi Mele, Fiji Times, 24 November 2017
The high incidence of uncontrolled burning of forests has become a major concern for Government, says Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development and National Disaster Management, Inia Seruiratu.
Mr Seruiratu made the comment at a two-day workshop on national forest fire management held at the Shangri La Fijian Resort and Spa yesterday.
“Loss of forests because of fire causes loss of biodiversity, both above and below ground, and it accelerates soil erosion, which is causing siltation and drying up of our streams,” he said.
“Frequent burning of our landscape has badly degraded affected land to the extent that it will take longer for the land to recover.”

[India] $6.5bn Afforestation Fund Has Pitted Forest Depts Against Tribals, Again
By Bhasker Tripathi, IndiaSpend, 24 November 2017
One day in the summer of 2013, Balakrushna Jani, one of the leaders of Burlubaru village in Kandhamal district of southern Odisha, heard from a farmer that some men were planting saplings on forest land a few kilometres outside the village. As per the Forest Rights Act, the land in question belonged to the villagers – primarily of the Kutia Kondh tribe, classified as particularly vulnerable due to their small numbers–and was part of the 50 hectares they had left fallow as per usual practice.
Balakrushna and a few other villagers rushed to see what was going on. They found most of the land covered with teak saplings, and labourers at work to cover the remaining parts. When Balakrushna confronted the forest officials present, they shouted him down and threatened that anyone who tried to prevent the plantation or even enter the area would be arrested.

25 November 2017

Quotient Capital Recognizes Green Blockchain Technology
Quotient Capital press release, 25 November 2017
In the 21st century, climate change has been a much-discussed topic by scientists from every corner of the world. The alarmingly increasing rate of global warming, mainly due to carbon emissions, has made 2016 the warmest year in history.
Global warming issues have brought world leaders together on many occasions, as they cooperate to combat the daunting task of reducing carbon emissions. However, it is only recently that a compelling solution was found.

[India] Uttarakhand government pins hope on Centre to fell pine trees in high altitude zone
By Nihi Sharma, Hindustan Times, 25 November 2017
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Uttarakhand has taken up a similar proposal that the previous Congress regime had with the Centre, seeking permission to fell pine trees in the upper reaches of the state.
On Friday, chief minister TS Rawat during a meeting with Union forest minister Dr Harsh Vardhan, requested him for permission to fell trees above the altitude of 1,000m.

Is Indonesia’s fight against forest fires falling short?
By Armida S Alisjahbana (Padjadjaran University), and Jonah Busch (Center for Global Development), East Asia Forum, 25 November 2017
Forest fires sweeping across Sumatra and Kalimantan in recent months prompted six Indonesian provinces to declare a state of emergency. Yet the scale of resources devoted to fighting and preventing fires remains far short of what is needed to turn around Indonesia’s rising rates of deforestation and meet Indonesia’s ambitious climate pledge.
Fires break out across Indonesia every year during the dry season as large companies and smallholder farmers alike burn forests and fields to clear land for crops, especially lucrative oil palm and pulpwood. These crops are big business. Palm oil exports exceeded US$15 billion in 2015, while the forestry industry employs more than half a million Indonesians. The fires are enabled by decades of forest degradation caused by logging, which thins and dries the forest.

26 November 2017

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